Enchanted by Etna, via Vino di Anna 

Eric Narioo, Anna Martens, and family. Though not Italian by birth, they are capturing the energy and excitement of Mt. Etna like few other producers.

Enchanted by Etna, via Vino di Anna 

The year was 2020, and I was a brand new natural wine enthusiast. I heard a gushing review of a wine on Action Bronson's YouTube show, F#@k, That's Delicious, and had to try it. Looking for inspiration, I picked up a bottle of Frank Cornelissen's Susucaru — and was immediately struck by the complexities of the volcanic elixir coming from Mt. Etna. I immediately wanted more from the region.

A recent renaissance of terroir driven expressions has revived the reputation of this active volcano, and so my exploration of Mt. Etna has been full of this new wave of producers like Romeo del Costello, i Custodi, Girolamo Russo, Palmento Costanzo, and Eduardo Torres Acosta. And while Susucaru will always have a part of my heart, it was the wines from Anna Martens of Vino di Anna that truly hooked me on the region. 

They were the exact wines I had been looking for: the structure of Cornelissen but with a playful raciness and energy that I found irresistible. The Vino di Anna wines are closer to the era when Frank Cornelissen's Susucaru had zero-sulfur added: a little wild, sometimes unpredictable, but a lot of fun. The Jeudi 15 is the best intro to these wines, but at $28 it has also disappeared the fastest, leaving us with less than a case remaining. The Qvevri Rosso takes this to another level, matching serious Georgian texture with sublime freshness. But my favorite might actually be the ethereal, mineral Bianco G, made from old-vine Grecanico. 


Anna Martens, originally from Australia, trained as an oenologist, but her husband Eric Narioo, from France, pushed her towards the more natural side of winemaking. Anna and Eric made their first wine together on Mount Etna in 2008. In 2010, the couple purchased their first vineyard of old vine Nerello Mascelese in Contrada Crasà, along with a neighbouring, derelict palmento, the stone structure used in traditional Etna winemaking for centuries. They now work around seven hectares of vines using Biodynamic practices and adding as little sulfur as possible, often none. The vines range from 60-100 years old and are planted anywhere from 2100 to almost 4000 feet of elevation.

Reading a bit about their backstory I’ve come to appreciate all the love and labor Anna and Eric put into their wines and stewardship of the land. Tasting the wines, it's hard to think of anything besides 'f#@k that's delicious!'


Jeremy Hernandez


Image of Vino di Anna "Jeudi 15" Rosso 2020
Vino di Anna "Jeudi 15" Rosso 2020
Upon opening the Jeudi 15 Rosso 2020, it has a slight reductive note on the nose. I detected dried raspberry, fresh cherry, and a bit of white floral aromas. On the palate I tasted bright fresh raspberry, a bit of Campari, an Aperol spritz note, with a slight tingling on the tongue. This wine is fresh and vibrant with lots of racy acidity, fresh tart fruit, with a hint of tannic structure. Organically farmed Nerello Mascalese from 80-90 year old bush vines. The vineyards are located in the stunning contrada of Monte Laguardia at altitudes of 800 to 840 metres on the northern slopes of Mt Etna. The wine is made from a majority of Nerello Mascalese with small amounts of Nerello Cappuccio and Alicante (Grenache) added. The grapes are hand picked, 70% of the grapes are de-stemmed by hand into 30hl wooden fermenter. The rest of the grapes were added as whole bunches. Spontaneously fermented with indigenous yeasts without temperature control. The wine underwent malolactic fermentation and remained on fine lees, in several large, used oak casks, not fined or filtered. JH
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Image of Vino di Anna Rosso "Qvevri Don Alfio" Sicilia 2020
Vino di Anna Rosso "Qvevri Don Alfio" Sicilia 2020
The Qvevri Don Alfio is the more mature older brother of Jeudi 15. It has a similar flavor profile with a bit more development of flavor and depth. There's a bit more tannic and mineral development as well. On the nose I detected black cherry, bruised and macerated raspberries, with notes of fresh herbs. On the palate I was delighted by the more developed fruit and tannic structure, with racy, lively acid resembling the cherry and raspberry aromas. In one bottle I found a slight tingling of effervescence which i thoroughly enjoyed. There's also something a bit more deep and complex here resembling licorice and bittersweet aperitif's, a bit of savory and salty round out the complexity and balance. The Qvevri Don Alfio is named after the specific vineyard site and the ancient georgian clay vessel that the wine ferments in. The wine is made from 96% Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio rounding out the last bit of the blend. The grapes are destemmed by hand and placed in a 1000 liter qvevri which is buried underground. The spontaneously ferments with native yeasts and macerates on the skins for one month, after which the wine is pressed off and returned to qvevri to age on fine lees before being bottled without fining or filtration. JH
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Image of Vino di Anna 'Bianco G' Sicilia 2020
Vino di Anna 'Bianco G' Sicilia 2020
This is a seriously delicious white wine from Mt Etna. It has all the minerality, acid, fruit, and texture you could hope for from a volcanic wine. On the nose I detected a bit of caramel, a slight brininess, and a bit of overripe white peaches. This wine is made from organically grown, predominantly Grecanico (70%), sourced from several small vineyards, high on the north face of Mt Etna hand harvested. The average age of the vines is 80 years old. The altitudes of the vineyards are 800-1100 meters above sea level. Grapes are macerated for one week on skins. A field blend (Carricante, Minnella Bianca, Insolia) were whole bunch pressed together. The wine is spontaneously fermented and undergoes malolactic fermentation then left on fine lees for 12 months prior to bottling, without fining or filtering. JH
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